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A new study from Ebay shows Christmas Shopping can increase one’s heart rate just as much as running a marathon. Alyse Barker (@IamAlyseBarker) has the story.
As retailers roll out deals earlier and earlier to grab a greater chunk of holiday shoppers’ dollars, Thanksgiving Day has grown in importance, with sales kicking off before the dinner dishes have been cleared away.
Walmart and Kmart have opened stores on the holiday for decades, but in recent years they’ve been joined by Sears, Toys R Us and other retailers who are vying for the up to $1.05 trillion in sales that consultancy Deloitte is projecting for this holiday season.
About 58% of shoppers say they plan to shop this Thanksgiving, up from 40% who intended to do so last year, according to consultancy PwC. Meanwhile, a separate survey by Deloitte found that roughly 73% of respondents would be shopping on the holiday.
More than 300 people waited outside Younkers department store 30 miles southeast of Green Bay, Wis., for a chance to win a $500 gift card before the store opened at 11 a.m. CT.
Andrea and Alexa Moreno shopped on Thanksgiving Day for the first time, and they planned to take advantage of Younkers’ steep discounts for a good cause.
The girls were on a mission to buy jackets and donate them to homeless shelters and thrift stores in northeastern Wisconsin.
“Winter’s coming, so we thought maybe we could buy jackets for people who need them,” Andrea Moreno said.
Walmart geared up for the Black Friday shopping onslaught.
“I really like what I am seeing,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart’s U.S. operation, Thursday after touring stores.
Workers toiled to convert displays from emphasizing food sales over the past week — ingredients for those turkey dinners — to gift items in order to transform Walmart into a Black Friday powerhouses.
All signs pointed to a vibrant Thanksgiving shopping weekend.
“The general mood of the economy is quite solid. The weather is being extremely helpful” with generally warmer-than-usual weather across much of the country, Foran said.
The tough part is making sure the stores have just the right mix of specials and merchandise to win customers. He said Walmart is ready with hot toys like the Hatchimals lineup that was popular last year and a nice assortment of stuffed animals and other plushes. Plus, he said this year Walmart is better prepared when it comes to trendy apparel. Kids’ pajama sets featuring licensed characters, like Pokemon, for instance, should be winners.
With millions of items available online, shoppers who want to enjoy dessert and avoid the cold and the crowds will be able to take advantage of holiday discounts without ever leaving the house.
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In fact, according to online cash back site Ebates, 1 in 10 Americans will shop in between courses.
While some Americans will shop during dinner, 40% of Thanksgiving shoppers will wait until after the pie has been eaten and the dishes are done. And the top 3 items they’re hitting the stores for are clothing, TVs and toys.
On a day traditionally reserved for family, feasting and football, there’s been push back against the new holiday shopping tradition.
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., said it would be closed for business on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. And regional mall owner CBL Properties also planned to shutter its shopping centers on the holiday, though stores, restaurants and other businesses with outside entrances could welcome customers if they chose.
More: What you need to know for the Black Friday shopping frenzy
More: The most amazing Black Friday deals you can get right now
“The support that we received last year when we made this decision was overwhelmingly positive,” Stephen Lebovitz, president and CEO of CBL Properties said in a statement announcing the decision.
But the holiday season is typically the most lucrative period of the year for the retail industry. And as a growing number of companies struggle to eke out a profit in the age of Amazon, some stores are figuring that there’s too much at stake to stay shuttered on Thanksgiving when many of their rivals will be open.
“There are shoppers who clearly have an appetite for those early deals and are willing to get out early and head to stores on Thanksgiving to get the best of them,” says Rod Sides, a Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution leader.
“We’re going to eat turkey and celebrate Thanksgiving Friday,” said Luis Martinez, of Port St. Lucie, who was at the front of the line at the Best Buy in Stuart, Fla.
For Martinez, who got on line at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, it was worth it to score a 50-inch Sharp 4K television for $179.99, $320 off the regular price of $499.99 and a laptop.
According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, an estimated 164 million people or 69% of Americans are expected to shop during Thanksgiving weekend, which includes Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Museum Store Sunday and Cyber Monday.
Greece, N.Y., resident Jody Roth, 57, doesn’t think stores should be open on Thanksgiving.
“Thanksgiving is a day that should be for rest,” she said.
Nonetheless, she arrived at Big Lots at opening for its doorbuster deal of $189 for a recliner for her father. The price was too good to resist, she said.
For some, coming out to shop is more about the comraderie than the deals. Bright and early Thanksgiving morning, a trio of women arrived at Big Lots in Henrietta to shop for gifts for the family.
“It’s a tradition,” Heather Dinatale, 36, of Henrietta said of shopping on Thanksgiving day.
Contributing: Mary Chao, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle; Jen Zettel, The (Appleton, Wis.) Post Crescent; Kelly Tyko, (Fla.) Treasure Coast Palm and Sharyn Flanagan, USA TODAY.